I usually do the Linkapalooza at this point, but I gotta say... there's not much going on that interests me. Like... Platinum Dunes has been hired by Universal and Hasbro to make a movie based on Ouija. (Michael Bay conjures "Ouija" movie - Hollywood Reporter) Seriously, I can't even bring myself to comment on that. So, instead, I've decided to talk about short horror films...
So, I'm wondering about this "Fear Itself" 'horror anthology' that NBC is going to start airing on Thursday, June 5th. (1) Just how gory/scary/violent are you going to get on network TV? (2) Why did you put the premiere on against game 1 of the NBA finals? (3) Why did you play it safe with the guest directors? I mean, I kinda get having John Landis (An American Werewolf in London), but Breck Eisner? (Sahara). Don't get me wrong, I'll check it out, but... let's just say I'm not smelling what they're stepping in here. However, that's not to say that I have anything against horror films that are less than feature length... in fact, I think there may be a big market for them soon.
We were sent a pile of horror shorts (we're almost through all of them) and I have to say, they kick ass... first off, I'm way more tolerable of any negative aspects when I know the film is only 15 minutes long. Secondly, there's just something about the fact you don't need to commit 90 minutes to watching them. You got a few minutes? Plop a short film in. There's no question that due to the short formats on Youtube and other broadband video sites, young and future audiences will be accustomed to, and will consume media in short formats. Now, I think there's two genres that are very effective in short format. One, obvioulsy, is comedy, which has exploded all over the place and the other is horror, which is in its infancy. Comedy can be anything from two idiots lighting themselves on fire, posted on Youtube, to Will Farrell's "The Landlord", but horror is slightly different... It doesn't really lend itself to just being thrown out there. So, currently, the problem lays in the fact that, outside of entering festivals, there's not much that an indie-horror, short filmmaker can do... but that could be changing, as there's a few groups out there that are coming out with DVD's that are collections of horror shorts. Here's three examples that are slightly different from each other, but could either give you an option or an idea... "Aaaaah!! Indie Horror Hits" actually takes submissions from indie-filmmakers, then puts out compilations and shares the profits, "New York City Horror Film Festival" puts out a DVD with all the horror shorts from the festival on it and, finally, "The Horror Vault" is a group of filmmakers that went out and made their own anthology.
Let's take a closer look at "The Horror Vault" because I love the idea of a group of filmmakers getting together to make an anthology of short films. If you're an indie-horror filmmakers, what can you take away from this idea? Well, if you're just one guy and you don't have the resources to make a feature, why don't you group together with a few other, like-minded people and make something like this? Basically, there's more strength in numbers, which, in this case, means there's a better chance of distribution when you have more minutes of film. That's exactly what these guys did, and what they came up with is awesome... I love the concept, I love the product, it's a great idea.
Here's some more information on the short films that make up "The Horror Vault":
"When John Met Julia" is a modern twist on Romeo and Juliet, except everything goes a bit wrong...for poor John anyway. Written and directed by Kim Sønderholm
"Delusion" is a black/white 50ies style of horror drama, directed by Mark Machillo.
"Alone" is a story about being all alone in a sorority house on a dark night. Written and directed by Kenny Selko.
"Mental Distortion" is a story about Pete, waking on on his floor, about to do a gruesome find. Directed by Kim Sønderholm.
"Dead To The World" has english actor and director Russ Diaper take a stab at the Ted Bundy legend from a new perspective.
"Disconnected" directed by David Boone and Josh Card is a black and white little threat of the absurd - dark humor and crude and explicit torture mixed in one.
"Echoes" by Gabriel Dowrick, the australian addition about a man, waking up, tied to a bed in what seems to be a nursing home, knowing little of what is going on.
"The Demon" by Thomas Steen Soerensen is the story about a man chased by his own ghosts and desires, which is about to explode as he picks up a young pretty woman hitchhiking at the side of the road, coming seemingly from nowhere. Or is she?
Finally, "Retina" by JP Wenner, is a black and white and extremely absurd and nihilistic story about... well - you're the audience - you decide! :-)
You can get more info about the film, watch the trailer and find out more about the filmmakers on their site here and you can order the film off Amazon here. By the way, the Horror Vault 2 is already in the works and will be released on December 1, 2008.
The 12th Annual LA Shorts Fest returns to Hollywood August 15 – 21, 2008 at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theaters. The largest short film festival premieres the best shorts in the world. In past years, 30 participants have earned Academy Award nominations, with 9 filmmakers actually taking home the Oscar. This is where entertainment professionals and trend setters discover the next hot new talents. 323-461-4400 www.lashortsfest.com
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